Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finding What's Important

My state has a peculiar requirement for medical license renewal.  Physicians are required to pursue twelve hours of Continuing Education on patient safety in each two year license cycle, something I do on line and largely in the last 4-6 weeks before the due date.  They give a certain amount of latitude in what qualifies, things from infection control to domestic violence to minimizing medical errors.  One of the self-study articles turned out to be a widely applicable seminar on geriatrics, which is something I do a lot of.  Specialists like myself tend to practice within disease guidelines, in my case diabetes, though optimal disease management may undermine the goals that some of these people have.  So if the goal of an elderly person is independence with a drivers license, too much insulin or a complex glucose-lipid-blood pressure program may keep that from happening.  So goals need to be established, even if optimal disease management sometimes has to be sacrificed.

Of course, this principle has widespread applicability to most activities.  There is process and there is outcome.  So what might I really want out of my Jewish experience?  Camaraderie?  Learning? Challenge?  Engagement?  Spirituality?  Acceptance?  Lot of possibilities.  I'll start with an uninterrupted Torah reading, a pet peeve perhaps but one to which approaches to the baalebatim have been literally ignored.  I think being ignored may be more of an irritant than the Aliyah Sound Bites themselves.  Maybe it's the interaction, the give and take that has been the Jewish tradition from Talmudic times that has been too dormant at AKSE.  Maybe it's respect for my mind and my knowledge that has eluded me there.  The worship part, at least, cannot meet goal and has to be replaced.

Can a synagogue really survive as a club if the worship component gets written off?  There are social activities, classes, cultural events, flyers to be made, budgets to balance.  So probably.  But it will be a less important place.

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